The #PRStudChat Challenge – The Community Grows

Dear friends…I’m going away to Australia and I won’t be posting on Monday, October 26th, like I usually do.  I’ll be participating in the PRIA National Conference and will have a new post up as soon as I return from my trip.  Hope you enjoy today’s post!

Our October 21st #PRStudChat Challenge was a big hit!  The PR discussion between students, professors and PR pros with @missusp as our special guest (she was fantastic), attracted around 409 contributors and there were approximately 1,995 tweets (we were trending for a little while).  Our community is growing and the amount of information and insight being shared is incredibly valuable.  The #PRStudChat challenge, with over 40 schools participating, helped to get everyone excited and revved up for a dynamic discussion. Although the conversations started long before the actual chat session, the group discussed everything from ethics and social media communications to the purpose of our blogs and the importance of learning web technology.

Of course, just like the last chat session in September, there were many questions asked by the members of the community that I didn’t get to answer (the Twitter chat stream flies by so quickly and there were so many more questions due to the growth of the community). So, I wanted to take the time to hand pick a few of the questions that I missed.  If, I didn’t select your question in my post, and you would like me to answer it, please comment or reach out to me on Twitter.

Here are a few of the questions:

Is there any one type of internship that is more highly valued in the industry? Great question, I think the most highly valued internship is the one that lets you be a part of the team. You should be able to brainstorm, contribute to the strategy and planning of a PR program and then roll up your sleeves and help to execute the campaign.  This type of experience can occur in any organization. Although every company provides a different experience, I never felt that being in a large agency vs. a small agency or working in an in-house, for profit PR department vs. a non-profit was more highly valued over another; you can find value in any organization as long as they allow you to be a part of the process.

When you were in school, how did you know what kind of PR you would be most interested in? I don’t think I actually knew what type of PR I wanted to practice when I was in college at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University).  I developed my likes and dislikes for different types of PR when I was in my first job. However, I did learn quickly that working in a smaller PR agency setting allowed me to wear many hats and experience different types of PR.  In my opinion, the smaller agency enables you to develop your skills and passion and find out quickly what type of PR you like the most.

Is it unlikely to receive a job after graduation as opposed to an internship? When I was looking for my first PR job, there were many positions available.  I found that working in New York City brought more choices and opportunity.  However, today is a tougher with the economy.  I’m seeing a lot of graduates take paid internships as they search for an entry level position.  By taking this approach, you are gaining experience as you find the job that’s right for you.

How do you determine which aspects of social media are important to your job? I would think your role in social media has a direct correlation to your industry and your brand’s customers.  Right now, I’m finding that there’s a big difference between the PR person’s responsibilities who is in the B2C company or a technology start up versus the B2B company, i.e., healthcare, legal or accounting.  If your customers are engaged in social media, then that determines how much and where the company needs to engage (which directly affects the PR professional’s role).

Does anyone believe that social media could be a phase? I don’t think that social media is a phase or a fad.  It’s very much a part of the consumer lifestyle, with the numbers of social media use growing daily.  Businesses need to connect with their customers and other stakeholders.  Similar to how we view the Internet (as here to stay), social media participation is an excellent means of communication outreach that will help brands to better understand the market, connect and receive feedback from customers, and to develop products and services that are meaningful to the groups they serve.

Do you think social media will do more harm than good for an organization? I’m going to keep this answer short and sweet.  You will do your brand more harm if your customers are having conversations about you in their web communities and you are not there to listen and participate.  One of the first things that I learned about social media and the rise of the citizen journalist, the conversations go on with or without the company’s knowledge, permission and/or participation.

I’m sure there were many excellent questions and discussions that ensued during our #PRStudChat challenge.  I hope my answers are helpful and that your experience with #PRStudChat will continue to be a good one.  Feel free to comment about your answers to any of these questions  🙂